I’m a Ninja When the Blowdryer is On

When someone who has only ever heard my voice on the phone, asks me what I look like, I’ve always been compelled to tell them that I’m something of a cross between Marilyn Monroe and …after  a pregnant pause…Phyllis Diller. This is usually followed by a deafening, albeit momentary silence.

I’ll wait right here one second while those under 50 quickly Google a photo of each of them.

Go ahead…I’ll be here…

Still waiting…

Still waiting…

For all those of you age 50 and up, you may now unleash the stifled giggles.

I imagine that caller, who can easily picture both women, is momentarily stunned by the incongruous mental picture, unable to juxtapose the two. (Didn’t think I could pull off the words “incongruous” and “juxtapose” in the same sentence did you?  Well that’s just how I roll.)  Sadly, the world lost a genuine character, Phyllis Diller, 95, this week.

I’m sad because I’ll need to get a new punch line now, and sad because she inspired me.  In her memoir, Diller said she realized that she was a lousy housekeeper, so it occurred to her to always leave her vacuum out.  That way, whenever someone dropped by unexpectedly, she could answer the door and apologize that the vacuum was out, saying she was just doing some cleaning.  Brilliant!

Phyllis Diller was bawdy, didn’t put up with anyone’s nonsense, and she was unapologetic for the person she was.  It must have been liberating.  I don’t think it was her intent to offend anyone, though she often did, and she was one of few women of her generation who could keep up with the boys when it came to a roast.  I loved her sense of humor.

In some ways, I’m like her.  I’ve never been stealthy.  I wear flats to avoid tripping or doing that graceful Miss Congeniality walk…you know the one.

I’m more like a troll in heels than a runway model. So it is surprising that this week I managed to scare the daylights out of v2.0 (AKA the kid), when I chose to join her in our tiny powder/laundry room whilst she was busily blowdrying her hair.  I (thought) I tromped in, with my usual flair, balanced a 5X magnifying mirror on top of the washer and proceeded to apply mascara.

It was, at this point that v2.0 shut off the blowdryer, turned, startled and screamed, “Ohmigosh Mom, you scared me!  You’re like a ninja or something!”

Yeah, that’s me.

Well time to go clean!

So Blue in ’62


Here I was in 1962, innocently celebrating my first birthday while the dangerous and sometimes tragic world lurked outside.

Enamored of her beauty, I hoped I’d grow to become as lovely as the starlet and international celebrity Marilyn Monroe.  As a little girl,  I think you always believe you could be ravishing, glamorous and adored like a movie star.

When I encounter people on the phone or through the internet for the first time and they want to know what I look like, I always tell them, “I’m a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Phyllis Diller.”  That keeps them on guard.

Just a few weeks after my party, Marilyn Monroe died.  Sadly, though a 36-year-old actress with 23 movies to her credit, media mention of Marilyn usually leads with her untimely death, as though her death were more important than her life.

At one year old, my fear was limited to strangers.  I was too young to understand that by that October, The Cuban Missile Crisis had us on the brink of nuclear annihilation.  For me, it came and went without a care.  I was just happy eat cake.

Then what happened?